“How can I tell if I’m in love?” is a very common question, despite how ambiguous its answer may be. What feels like love to one person may be nothing more than attraction to another. Some people fall in and out of love quickly and often while others are never really in love as much as they are in lust.
This can get confusing, especially when you are a teen because romantic love is a relatively new concept for you and you don’t know what to expect. You are overwhelmed with all sorts of new feelings and social pressures and you have no idea what they all mean and if anyone else is experiencing the same thing.
What is love? What makes you want a romantic relationship with one person and not another? How does your heart choose a partner? These questions don’t have a definitive answer, but here is my attempt at breaking down the feeling of being in love with the use of required characteristics that, coming from my own experience and those of my peers, usually signify the subject has truly fallen for somebody else.
You’re invested in his/her happiness: I’m not just talking about rooting for his favorite football or basketball team. You’re really in love when you’re willing to put his happiness above your own, like skipping a concert you were looking forward to and instead going to see him so you can help him get over a bad day.
You want him/her to branch out: You want him or her to find challenges that will help them realize their potential and grow as a person. If you want him or her to stay the same and not have any adventures that will open someone up to the beauty of new experiences (that might not involve you), it’s not love, it’s just being needy.
You’re into all of him/her: In the beginning of a relationship/friendship, you’re almost always crazy-hot for each other. But if you’re just as hot for him or her even after you know about his weird sleep positions, that’s a sign you might be in it for the long-haul.
You put it all on the line: If you’re not risking having your heart broken, you’re not giving this person a chance to know who you really are.
You’ve forgotten your ex: More often than not, a breakup is followed by a ridiculous amount of time spent thinking about your ex and wondering whether or not you guys made the right decision to go your separate ways. Depending on how long the two of you were together, these doubts and worries can resurface again and again.
Ever since you met your new friend/ hookup buddy/ girlfriend, however, the thought of getting back with your ex is the furthest thing from what’s going through your head. Come to think of it, you can barely remember what you found so great about your ex in the first place.
(You shouldn’t be thinking about your ex anyways, she is your EX after all)
You can’t stop thinking about him/her: She/he just pops into your head for no apparent reason, and you wonder if she/he thinks about you half as much as you think about her/him.
You wonder what they’re up to all the time and even consider calling them (but refrain from doing so in fear of looking overeager) at random times during the day or night just to hear the voice of whoever you can’t seem to get out of your head as of late.
But, it gets worse. You’re out with your friends and you see something in a shop window and think about how much she or he would love that particular item. Something you wouldn’t normally look at twice.
If she/he is the last thing on your mind before you go to sleep and the first thing on your mind when you wake up– and you’ve even dreamed of them on a couple of occasions– then you don’t really even need to read on to know if you’re in love (but should anyway, ya know just to be sure).
You care: When you’re in love with someone, you want to know all about them: who they are inside, how they think, what makes them laugh. You truly care about her/him and their well-being.
You don’t notice other people as much: You are slowing realizing that all of the other guys and girls simply do not compare, and that she/he is often the only one you want to be with all day and all of the night.
You love spending time with her/him: This one is pretty obvious. You look forward to seeing each other, and don’t care much about what the two of you will be doing.
Furthermore, when you’re not together you miss each other and look forward to the next moment where you’ll see each other again.
Other priorities take the backseat: Your ever-important “to-do” list seems quite stagnant these days, as being with him or her always manages to render your other plans and obligations obsolete. What was it that you absolutely had to do by four o’clock again?
Juliette | Elite.